The European project ‘LIVINGSOILL: Healthy Soil to Permanent Crops Living Labs’ aims to establish a network of five ‘Living Labs’ located in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Poland that will serve as multidisciplinary collaboration platforms to co-design, co-develop and apply solutions that promote the conservation and restoration of soil health in woody crop plantations.

In the case of Andalusia, the ‘Living Lab Andaluz’ consortium is coordinated by the University of Jaén with the participation of researchers from the University Institute of Research on Olive Grove and Olive Oils (INUO), together with 10 partners representing both public administrations and private entities with a long track record in the olive sector, such as the ‘Diputación Provincial de Jaén’, ‘Consejería de Agricultura, Pesca, Agua y Desarrollo Rural’, ‘IFAPA’, ‘CITOLIVA’, Olivarum (‘Fundación Caja Rural de Jaén’), ‘JAENCOOP’, ‘NUTESCA’, ‘Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias de Andalucía’ and ‘INFAOLIVA’. The aim is for this pre-established network to expand in order to consolidate new business models and increase the economic and social impact on the Andalusian olive grove.

The coordinator of the ‘Living Lab Andaluz’, Juan Manuel Jurado Rodríguez, points out that “this project is an opportunity for the creation of solid and permanent synergies in order to encourage the olive grove sector in Jaén and Andalusia through the revaluation of the soil and the set of co-products necessary for its conservation. On the other hand, the University of Jaén, which integrates the participation of more than 30 members of 8 leading research groups in the olive sector and new technologies, together with the rest of the consortium partners represent an alliance with a high capacity for innovation and transfer of results to the society of Jaén and Andalusia“.

LIVINGSOILL is made up of 50 partners from 6 countries, with a global funding of 12 million euros, of which 2 million euros are destined to the province of Jaén, which represents an investment with an execution period of 4 and a half years. The aim is to contribute to the general improvement of the soil and environmental resilience in agricultural holdings related to olive groves, vineyards, hazelnut, almond and apple trees, through the development of innovative solutions adapted to the crop with the greatest regional impact in each area under study. Thus, a transversal axis is established in all regions and crops based on the use of sustainable technological solutions with which greater profit ratios and sustainability can be generated on farms. In addition, the implementation of regional alternatives in each of the ‘Living Labs’ will enable their adaptation and application to other crops to be promoted, taking into account the climatic and agricultural conditions to which each territory is exposed.

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